UOB Profit Climbs 25%, Beats Estimates on Non-Interest Income

United Overseas Bank Ltd. (UOB), Southeast Asia’s third-largest lender by assets, said profit rose for the fourth straight quarter, driven by operations such as capital markets and wealth management.

Fourth-quarter net income rose 25 percent to S$696 million ($561 million) from S$558 million a year earlier, the bank said in a statement to the Singapore stock exchange today. That beat the S$614 million average of nine analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

UOB joins DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in boosting profit amid four years of shrinking loan profitability and a 2012 economic expansion that was Singapore’s slowest in three years. Cost control and income from businesses such as credit cards and fund management have helped compensate for the region’s thinnest lending margins.

“We expect the momentum in fees and commissions to continue into 2013, specifically in areas such as wealth management,” Ken Ang, a Singapore-based analyst at Phillip Securities Pte, said before the earnings were announced. “The equities outlook for 2013 is also benign, which may add to some positive surprises on trading income.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephanie Tong in Hong Kong at stong17@bloomberg.net; Sanat Vallikappen in Singapore at vallikappen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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